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Willian bends in to break Newcastle hearts and give Chelsea breathing space

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In a week that has seen their £58m striker offered around on loan and their brightest young star publicly courted by one of Europe’s biggest clubs, how Chelsea supporters must be thankful for Eden Hazard.

The Belgium forward’s contract expires at the end of next season and he could yet find himself at Real Madrid one day but he remains by far the most important player at Maurizio Sarri’s disposal as the Italian struggles to impose himself on English football despite a promising start.

Christian Atsu wasted a good chance to head Newcastle in front but could not direct Ritchie’s cross goalwards.

Having stayed away for more than a year before he showed up at Selhurst Park in September for the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace, the Sports Direct chief executive attended six matches in succession but has not been seen at a game since November, when news of a potential takeover led by former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon first emerged.

Willian could have restored Chelsea’s lead straight away but the Brazilian shot badly wide after another lobbed through ball from Jorginho.

Yet, rather than take the game by the scruff of the neck, Chelsea did not create another real chance until David Luiz’s header flew wide in the 25th minute and were deservedly pegged back just before the break.

Pedro wasted another great chance from Marcos Alonso’s cross but, after Newcastle failed to clear properly, Hazard pounced on the loose ball, wriggled past three markers and played in Willian to curl a sumptuous effort in off the far post.
For more news relating to Chelsea, visit our sister site Chelsea Live.
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